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Mokau coastal erosion
The Mokau Spit is around 900-1200 years old and was originally subdivided by the state in the mid-1950’s despite concerns expressed by the local Council at the time.
Erosion commenced shortly after with some sections lost from the end of the spit in the late 1950’s and early 1960's.
There are regular cycles of erosion that occurs every three to four years along the coastline mainly due to the high wave energy of the west coast.
River floods, storm waves and changes in the river channel and its orientation will also have significant influence overtime on shoreline change occurring at Mokau Spit, and this is visible in the Council’s aerial photographs.
WDC constructed temporary rock cladding on the road reserve to protect the embankment to reduce the rate of erosion of the road-end of Beach Road and Point Road. The intention being to secure physical access to the properties and to allow for a managed retreat of the affected properties. The structural integrity of the road is at risk of being undermined by the continuing erosion.
Managed retreat strategy
WDC’s consistent position has been to work for and promote a managed retreat approach for the owners of the properties at risk. It is important that all reasonable steps are taken to keep the legal roadway available and usable in the immediate future so that a managed relocation or removal of property can occur.
The magnitude of the physical erosion process and its associated impact on private residential property is significant. It is not practicable to construct an adequate seawall designed to act as a real barrier that would be sustainable over time. Finding a permanent engineering solution or continuing to allocate further funding towards temporary measures is not an affordable option.
The challenge of coastal erosion is significant for many seaside locations in New Zealand, such as at Marokopa and elsewhere on a larger scale in Whitianga, Waihi Beach, and Nelson.
WDC is currently developing a Managed Retreat Strategy that will outline the planned approach, process, and timeline for the relocation of the affected properties.
Health and safety
WDC urges the public to comply with the signage and security measures in place at the end of Point Road Mokau.
The road end no longer provides a safe access point to the foreshore. A sign-posted alternative public access to the beach is located between No.21 and 23 Point Road.
The following measures are in place:
- sight rail to screen off the edge;
- sign to warn people not to cross over and to advise that there is no access to the beach at this location;
- two-metre high security fence in place along the full length of the parking area;
- a sign to indicate an alternative, safer route to the beach.
People who choose to ignore the signs and climb over the security fence, are not only risking their health and safety but are also committing an offence in breach of Section 9.1.1 (a) and (b) of the WDC Land Transport Bylaw. A person convicted of an offence against the Bylaw is liable for a fine not exceeding $20,000.
The above aerial photo taken in 2004 shows the front edge (red line) of the sections located on Point Road.
The above aerial photo taken in 2012 shows considerable erosion of the shoreline has taken place. The yellow circles show the locations where WDC has constructed temporary rock cladding to the embankments.
A considerable amount of erosion has occurred at the Te Nau Nau Reserve and the road access has been restricted due to the unstable nature of the bank.
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